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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 93 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: conflict, conflict, conflict  (Read 3992 times)
stefoid
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Posts: 319


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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2010, 04:17:40 PM »

I have been playing that way, but the results are usually extremely variable and often fall flat or wander in conflictless scenes until the plug is pulled or some arbitary conflict is announced.  Perhaps your way works better for experienced players, but from Matts recent advice to me and my inexperienced group, coming up with a good scene is really all about coming up with a good conflict, and that is what players should be thinking about with their Agenda - as Matt says, why are we having this scene?
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jburneko
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Posts: 1351


« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2010, 04:41:01 PM »

Part of why I may be successful with it is that I play NPCs very aggressively and flexibly.  So when the Agenda was: "Markus reunites with his sweetheart."  I knew that whatever the player showed me Markus wanted, the sweetheart wasn't going to want it.  If the player had been, "I'm sorry our love is gone!"  She would have been, "No, say it isn't so!"  If he had been, "MAke love to me!"  I would have said, "Thou shalt not have my virtue without marriage!"  Or whatever.

Jesse
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stefoid
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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2010, 05:03:55 PM »

I think I agree with by disgareeing with you that the agenda "Marcus reunites with his sweetheart" doesnt say *anything* about the potential conflict for the scene - I would say its pregnant with potential for conflict.  Smiley

I thought you were advocating agendas such as "Marcus stables his horse"  or "Marcus wanders around town"
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Welkerfan
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Posts: 43


« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2010, 07:01:26 AM »

I think you are both correct and kind of arguing past each other unintentionally.  The agendas described really don't say anything about potential conflicts at all.  The agenda is "Markus reunites with his lover."  That really doesn't say anything about the lover's beliefs, values, interests, or potential actions.  It doesn't say who else might be there or what other events might happen around the reunion.  The agenda has lots of potential conflicts, but it doesn't really describe what any of them might be.

The examples you gave, stefoid, describe the conflict in the scene to the same extent, but they are just bad Agendas.  They aren't exciting or inspiring, so it is hard to see what potential conflicts there might be.  If it were instead, "Markus stables his horse, but is interrupted by the stablehand, his childhood rival." then there are obvious potential conflicts.

It's important, I think, to not say, "I want a scene where the conflict is about winning back Elizabeth's heart."  Instead, you should request, "I want a scene where I reunite with Elizabeth." and play out the scene and determine the conflict from there.  If you request the conflict instead of the scene, you risk losing out on a really cool idea that another player has.  For example, if you simply request, "I want a scene where the conflict is about winning back Elizabeth's heart," you might stifle the really cool idea the producer or another player has where you save Elizabeth from the stocks or meet her with her new husband.  So, it's good to just request what's generally going on in the scene.

That being said, you need to make the Agenda exciting and cool.  "Markus wanders around town." gives no hint or direction to the flow of the scene at all.  It puts too much pressure on the producer to make the scene exciting.  By making Agendas with several potential sources and directions of conflict, you ensure the scene will turn out well.
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Brenton Wiernik
jburneko
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Posts: 1351


« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2010, 11:21:39 AM »

I agree with what Brenton said.

I also agree that I was perhaps over zealous in saying "nothing" about the conflict.  However, I have had that kind of weak Agendas and I consider it the producer's responsibility to "spike" the scene during framing to move the situation toward conflict.  For example in another game a player gave me this:

Agenda: I'm researching the mysterious map we found at the library.

Not a very conflictly kind of Agenda as I don't consider "clue hunting" to be a conflict.  So what I did was this: I framed the scene directly to the player making a discovery about the map to open up potential action about the map.  It was something like, "There's a shot of the map spread out a table surrounded by almanacs.  There's a moment where we see your character circle The Isle of Mantos off the coast as being a dead match for the unlabeled island on your mysterious map."  I then immediately introduce an element that moves the action toward conflict.  In this case I said, "Suddenly, you hear voices on the other side of the book shelves.  After a moment you realize it's Andrew (the PC's love interest) and he's talking to another woman!"

Similarly, I'm not afraid to extend a scene past the current set piece if necessary.  In the same game as my Markus example one player is the bodyguard/servant on another player.  It was her turn to set up a scene.  Her Agenda was: Rana (her character) and The Marquess (the other PC) discussing what to do about the Baron's (an NPC) unwillingness to help.  During the scene The Marquess gave Rana a letter to take the Baron's wife.  I then asked Rana's player how she thought Rana would be traveling.  She said on foot through the streets of the city.   So I immediately extended the action to an alleyway where thugs surrounded her and The Priest from my previous examples stepped out of the shadows and said, "Whatever you mistress gave you, I suggest you hand it over."

Jesse
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stefoid
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Posts: 319


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« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2010, 12:08:37 PM »

In most of those clue huntin shows, they do that ridiculous thing where some obscure thing they see gives them the eureka moment that alows them to piece two previously unrelated pieces of information and thus solve the puzzle -- best exemplification in the campy 70s batman tv show.  Smiley

(not suggesting thats a good idea)

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